Chance encounter catapults ‘My Sinatra’ star’s career; see show at Mother Lode

Cary Hoffman, star of the one-man living memoir musical My Sinatra, has been a lifelong fan of Frank Sinatra, but he’s been, in his words, “obsessed” with Sinatra since he was 14.

The show, which has now performed in more than 55 performing arts centers around the world, began decades before its debut. These include performances in Singapore and Acapulco, Mexico.

Hoffman spent his teenage years in his bedroom listening to Sinatra and trying his best to mimic the singer’s voice.

“People have theorized that I made Frank Sinatra’s voice a father, like a surrogate father,” Hoffman said. He lost his biological father when he was about 7 years old and his stepfather when he was a teenager.

That second loss really got him into Sinatra mania, he said.

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“I was attracted to him,” Hoffman said of Sinatra. “I got his records, just like teenagers do today – except they’re streaming – and I spent a lot of time in my bedroom singing his songs note for note while my mom yelled in the background, ‘Stop singing Sinatra! Do your homework!’ What she didn’t know was that that was my homework.”

Eventually, after growing up, Hoffman quit singing Sinatra and spent his career writing commercial jingles and directing television writers. However, his love for Sinatra and his voice was never far away.

“I don’t think I knew as a kid how awesome he was,” Hoffman said. “I just loved his voice; I still do If I’m in a diner and they’re playing a Sinatra record, I’ll tell everyone at the table to shut up.”

When he started singing Sinatra again in his 40s, he said it was entirely by accident. One night a few decades ago, a friend of Hoffman’s took him to a band that played Sinatra songs, but the band didn’t have a singer.

Hoffman happened to know the band leader, who invited him on stage to sing.

He wasn’t sure what his voice would sound like after all this time, but once he started singing, the audience’s response was positive. After singing three songs, he said the club’s owner invited him to pay him to come back and sing weekly, which he did.

“And that was it, it was a one in a million thing that this band was there, that I knew the band leader and that I could still sing,” Hoffman said.

After that, he continued to sing Sinatra in his spare time, and soon he was incorporating his journey with Sinatra into the storyline, even starring in a PBS television special, My Sinatra.

“My Sinatra” is not a Sinatra impersonator or a tribute band. Rather, it’s a one-man show that includes not only 20 of Sinatra’s songs sung in Hoffman’s indistinguishable imitation, but also Hoffman’s own personal story. He said he makes a lot of differences between himself and Sinatra during the show and cracks some jokes at his own expense, which he says puts the audience at ease.

Now, Hoffman is bringing his story and Sinatra’s to Butte, the show’s first time in Montana.

Hoffman and his agency hired nine musicians from Montana to play on the show, and he’s bringing his own drummer and pianist from New York.

It’s something he always does when doing band shows of “My Sinatra” outside of the New York tri-state area, he said. He reaches out to music schools and other talented musicians in each state and recruits them to the show.

“It’s amazing how many great musicians there are in this country who can play Sinatra-like music,” Hoffman said. “It is amazing.”

Though he’s been doing this for almost a third of his life now, he said his favorite part is seeing the audience transported back in time and enjoying the show.

“When I look at the audience, I see people in their 50s, 60s, 70s,” Hoffman said. “And their eyes are closed, and my voice takes them to a wonderful place that they miss. That’s my favorite thing – when I look out and you’re just transported to a time when they’re listening to the music live – they’re not listening to the record. “

Those who can answer correctly, which is Sinatra’s best-selling record, will receive 2-for-1 tickets to the show.

“My Sinatra” includes the songs “My Way”, “One For My Baby”, “Fly Me to the Moon” and “That’s Life”. It will be shown at the Mother Lode Theater on November 18th at 7pm.